As part of our Lead(H)er series, we have had the great privilege of interviewing so many incredibly talented women who are founders or executives at some of the fastest growing companies in the vibrant startup scene.
They’ve told us about everything from the challenges, successes, and surprises of their careers, so take a look at our list of the talented women we’ve spotlighted this year.
“For women in tech, or for women looking to break into technology, remember that you don’t need to be an expert before you start the job. This isn’t a new message but it’s worth repeating. Trust your foundational skills and trust those around you. Your colleagues, your leaders, they want to see you succeed. Your success influences theirs.”
“I never thought I would be in a CMO/head of marketing role. It used to bother me that I didn't know what I wanted to do esp when I saw the clarity my peers had. However, I have realized that not knowing has given me a richer background, and frankly has been more fun. A big secret right now is, I have no idea where I will be in 10 years!”
"As I reflect on how I’ve progressed in my career, I attribute a lot of my success to saying “yes” to new opportunities and additional work responsibilities. I’ve always tried to play the long game when it comes to my career, meaning filling in gaps in responsibilities, even if it's not technically a part of my role and thinking of them as opportunities to learn something new.”
“Aim high, take risks and work really hard. Most importantly, earn your keep/respect, don’t be entitled!”
“I think just be open to anything -- there are so many jobs and experiences that could contribute to a future in People Ops, you don’t necessarily have to start there (I didn’t). ”
“I didn’t know I would be in this role specifically. But I did always want to be able to do something meaningful that really improves people's lives. I love that what I do helps other people grow their careers, makes them better at their jobs and ultimately improves their lives of older adults. ”
“Patience, communication, empathy, and the ability to persuade are also skills that have gotten me to where I am today. I’ve spent many years honing those skills, they certainly are not skills you develop overnight. The variety of my work experiences really helped me with these skills too – which says a lot in terms of not needing a “traditional” career path to get where you want to go. ”
“I often tell people that their career paths won’t be linear. It’s important to be open to new opportunities, roles, and industries. Gain as much experience and knowledge as possible and if you are no longer passionate about the role or work you are doing, try something new! "
“Second, find a good mentor(s) that you trust to help you on your career journey. A mentor doesn’t always have to be someone you have a direct mentorship relationship with. I have had people that I would consider mentors that I just watched how they interacted with people or handled situations. Everyone in your life/career can be a mentor informally. It is also important to find advocates for you outside of your direct management chain.”
“Treat people the way you want to be treated. Titles don’t matter. People are people. Work with people. They will help you, and you will help them.”
“There is no job below you. You can learn something from everything you are tasked with. You may just have to figure out what it is. Sometimes it won’t be the big cool challenge you are looking for but they are all steps towards that.”
“Focus on finding work that’s interesting and puts you in the company of interesting and smart people, the rest will come together.”
“Work hard, be proactive, reach out and get to know people and the company, figure out how to help your manager, bring ideas and solutions not problems, ask for and act on feedback, be someone others want to work with.”
“Feedback is a gift, but it's often wrapped up in stinky old newsprint instead of a cute bow. Being able to discard the wrapping but still keep the gift will help you grow and bounce back from adversity faster. ”
“I can’t count how many times I have been the only woman at the table, the only woman in the room. I have literally had vendors sit down and try to explain the interwebs to me before pitching their service, or ask me for the wi-fi password and then turn away. I am definitely aware that I have had to work harder, perform better, just to be considered. It can be really hard to persist, but you just do it. And then you reach a hand down and help the person behind you.”
“Don’t worry if you haven’t figured it out as of yet. Find good people to learn from either in your job or outside of it and ask lots of questions of how people got to where they are. As noted above, find mentors that do what you think you strive to achieve and then figure out how they got there. ”